Eriksen reflects on world title

Even though the USF softball team ended its season in early May, Bulls’ coach Ken Eriksen has stayed busy and made a mark at the sport’s highest level.

Eriksen, who has been an assistant on the USA national softball team since 2001, returned earlier this week from Caracas, Venezuela after helping guide the Red, White and Blue to the Gold Medal in the 2010 World Championships.

Led by accomplished and well-recognized athletes such as Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott, the U.S. claimed the title with a 7-0 victory against Japan on Friday.

“It is amazing what the girls were able to do after practicing together for just five days before the tournament,” Eriksen said. “Being able to win the championship with the limited amount of time we had together is a tremendous testament to our players and what they were able to achieve.”

In the nine-day tournament, which began June 24 with a 1-0 win over China, the U.S. compiled a 10-0 record and combined to outscore its opponents 95-6.

“We laid and built a strong foundation for the future of Team USA,” Eriksen said. “Winning the World Championship is the highest win you can earn. We are the best in the world, and these girls are world champions for the rest of their lives.”

The U.S. has now won seven consecutive World Championships, which have been held every four years since 1986. They own a world-best 106-10 record in the history of the tournament.

Eriksen, who coaches pitchers and catchers on the team in addition to scouting players, helped lead the U.S. to championships in 2002 and 2006. He also became the first USF coach in history to win an Olympic Gold Medal when USA captured the 2004 title in Athens.

Eriksen is the longest tenured head coach at USF, as he has led the softball program for the last 14 seasons. The Bulls have amassed a 611-333-1 record in that time and have reached eight NCAA tournaments.